A few days ago I got to hang out with my sister-in-law and we cleaned her house together. It was fun, but since she is expecting, she needs to take it easy, so I offered to go grocery shopping for her. At first I was just going to take my niece “J”, but then of course little “Badger” buddy wanted to go too. Of course, he couldn’t be outdone by his big sister. I could tell they were both tired and, dare I say it, cranky. Especially Badger. I figured it would be fine and decided to take them both. It would be fun! Why not, right?
Now, you can’t think that I am too naïve. I grew up with lots of siblings, and even though it had been a long while since any of them have been that little, I figured I could handle taking a 5 and 3 year old shopping. Mom’s do it all the time. They have my utmost respect. It isn’t easy.
I got them both buckled in the car after wrangling them into their shoes. While my sister was giving me directions with the grocery list, Badger had decided to jump in a puddle and came in the house whimpering with water all up his pants. Yeah, now you know it is too cold to walk in puddles Badger. We got him changed, but the only clean set of pants was too short, effectively making him look like a bean stalk. I adjusted the front seat far forward so that my pathetically short legs could reach the peddles, and, feeling like I was hugging the steering wheel, pulled out of the drive. A few miles down the road, my sister-in-law called me to make sure I knew where I was going, and to assure me that if her car died in the middle of the road, to pull over, turn it off, and then back on. Everything should be fine, she said. Swallowing nervously, I sent a bullet speed prayer heavenward. “Lord don’t let the car die today.” After we reached Aldi, out of habit and a worry about hitting something in a strange car, I parked in Timbuktu.
I got both the littles out of the car, and with one on my hip and the other by the hand, I made it nearly to the door, with a quarter for the cart and a smirk of pride on my face before I realized, I had left the debit card that my sister told me to use to pay for the groceries in the car. With a blush heating my face and the feelings of self-appreciation deflating like a balloon, I herded the kids back to the car and told them to hold hands while I dug in my sisters purse, looking for the right card. No such luck. I couldn’t find it. Meanwhile, Badger thought it was a riot to press the buttons and open the gas tank. I told him to stop and pulled him around so he couldn’t reach that button while J closed the hatch. Then, Badger decided to press the buttons that move the seat all around. It was buzzing back and forth, up and down while I tried to search through the purse on that very, never still chair while holding a phone to my ear. After finally finding it, I picked up Badger, closed the car door and headed towards the front with J in tow while thanking my sister-in-law over the phone. In my efforts to hang up with my too few hands, I dropped my phone. Thanking God I still had a dumb phone and not a smart phone that I could have broken, I tried to get the quarter into the car and make it detach from it’s mates. Nothing.
Dash it all, could anything go easy right now? I struggled with it while holding Badger in my arms and asking J to stay put. A sweet lady came back and offered me her cart before she put it back. Thank you sweet, unknown lady. I got them settled in the cart seat. We won’t even mention the amount of times Badger threatened to blow his top because he wanted to walk. Uh no. Knowing your inquisitive mind little Badger, there is no way that I was going to let you roam free while trying to shop for groceries. We made it down the first aisle, and in my efforts to find what they normally buy, I used J. Sis had told me that J could probably point out some of the stuff and brands that they got. But of course, the little monkey’s liked to take advantage of that a little. I asked them what cereal they normally get. “oh! Fruit Loops!” Oh! Marshmallow!” In other words, we get all the sugar stuff. Yeah right munchkins. I let them get one sweet cereal so I didn’t have anarchy on my hands, and 2 normal ones. Of course, I couldn’t find something the first go down that aisle so I turned around and started going against traffic. In case you are unfamiliar with Aldi they have you go down one aisle and up the next, serpentine fashion so that there is order and no confusion. Everything is laid out in that order. So, by turning around, I was effectively going against the current. I got out of that aisle as fast as possible and got the rest of the groceries. Among which was a package of raw chicken that just so happened to start leaking, a bag of little oreo’s as a treat/bribe if the kiddos behaved themselves, and trying to find the right yogurt. God bless his little heart, Badger needed blueberry.
Halfway through shopping, you want to know what the words I heard out of their adorable little mouths was? You guessed it. “I have to go potty!”
I had no idea if the store even HAD a bathroom. I looked frantically around while asking if there was anyway they could hold it. Cause, you know they BOTH had to go. I wasn’t about to leave the cart and search frantically. So I wheedled them into holding it while I hurried as fast as I could to find the rest of the groceries. My heart sank when I got to the checkout and there were lines. Trying not to roll my eyes, I pushed the cart into the most promising aisle and waited, trying to distract the little ones. I started unloading the cart on the belt when it was our turn and the kids had fun helping. They would reach back into the basket of the cart and chuck the items up onto the belt. They actually helped, bless their little hearts. There was an older gentleman behind us, with only a few items and a grey head of hair. He chatted with the little ones and even helped me out by grabbing the milk and juice out of the front basket.
“Are you helping your mommy?” he asked J and Badger. I blushed, wondering if it was worth correcting him. It wasn’t. I just grinned and thanked him and tried not to laugh at the weird looks J and Badger gave him. They were probably thinking in their heads: “Our mom isn’t here. That’s Victoria” Ah well, It would have been even more awkward if I had corrected him and explained the situation, not to mention, taken more time. And I had to get those kids to the bathroom.
At Aldi you bag your own groceries after they throw them all into a different cart. *rolls eyes* I had to pull the kids out of the one cart they were in and tell them to hold my hand while I dropped the credit card in a flurry and tried to pay for the items. Badger decided to play on a cart and get it in all sorts of peoples way. I told him a few times to stop. No such luck. Feeling like growling at him, I hoisted him onto the bagging counter to keep him out of trouble and then lifted J too because she didn’t want to be left out. Do you see a theme here? One can’t do something unless the other gets to do it too. I bagged the groceries and eyed the bathroom that I had finally located, trying to figure out what to do with the groceries. When I had finished bagging all the items, including the still sticky and leaking raw chicken, I grabbed J’s and Badger’s hands and headed towards a lady at a checkout.
“Can I leave my cart there while I take them to. . .” I pointed at the bathroom while she nodded vigorously and went back to ringing up items. “No worries, hun.” she said between chews on her gum. I hustled the kids down the cringingly dingy hallway and waited in line. Of course there was a line. After about 5 minutes it was finally our turn so they both went potty. Bless their dear hearts they held it that long! I washed the chicken juice (gag) off my hands, then helped them wash theirs, all while listening to the LOUD blow dryer Badger was playing with. It is hard to wash your nieces hands while she has them clapped over her ears because the dryer is “soooo loud!”
With a sigh of relief, we slipped out of the bathroom and made our way to the cart while I thanked the lady over my shoulder. They both stepped on the runner in front and begged me to go faster as we made it out to the parking lot and to the van. I was triumphant! We did it! I let them in the car and started loading groceries. An argument ensued about who should get in their seat first. (why it even mattered, I have no idea) I finally used the last card up my sleeve. Calling them by their full names, I firmly commanded them to get in their seats.
Or no Oreo’s.
That did it, and with a nod, I finished loading the groceries. I buckled them in and ran the cart back as fast as I could, praying that there wasn’t bedlam in the car while I was gone. Thankfully, they were sitting peacefully. Glory be. I gave them string cheese because Badger didn’t’ eat lunch before I gave them cookies. On the road again, I tried to hand back cookies. Their little hands were too far away. Finally, in desperation before the light turned green, I aimed as best as I could and chucked a handful at Badger’s lap. All but one made it, so that went well.
We pulled into the driveway a few miles later and I took a deep breath. I had done it. And with every hair (and at least half of my pride) intact I might add.
It was fun! It really was! I laugh over it now and I hope that it made you laugh too! Being a mother isn’t easy, but it is one of the most rewarding challenges we as women will ever face. I look forward to the day when I will have my own munchkins to take to the store. Thanks to my sister for letting me borrow hers.
Oh, and before I go. Let’s not forget that after getting home, my sister-in-law told me that you can move the pedals of the car closer so you don’t have to hug the steering wheel. Now she tells me.
Do you have any funny “littles” stories?
By God’s Grace,
Participating in. . .